GH: Can you tell me a little about yourself? How did you know you wanted to become an game artist?
CR: My name is Christoffer Radsby but most people call me Chris. I'm an 3D Environment Artist in the games industry but I'm currently working for Ubisoft. I had humble beginnings really, I grew up in a happy home with a great family and lots of close friends, living the life that most nerds did, a life full of LAN-parties, dungeons & dragons, instruments and music.
The difference between me and my twin brother Alexander Radsby would probably be the love for video-games, if his could be considered a normal love, mine would probably be considered borderline unhealthy for a person. Game-development was just a far away dream, something that I always wanted but I never really realized that it was an option that was available to everybody as long as you knew what you were looking for.
During my late teens I had my first encounter with 3D. It was a programming course in high-school and we dabbled in actually drawing out polygons in Direct3D using code. Not the most fun thing I've done in my life mind you but interesting still, however this officially put an end to my thoughts of becoming a 3D world-builder for games, back then I thought this was they way you did it and it wasn't until my early twenties and during my time in a University that I encountered 3D-modeling again, this time however with the full power of 3D Studio Max, which is a 3d-modeling software from Autodesk and one of the most used softwares out there for Film and games.I didn't study to become a Games Artist though, I studied to become an Interaction Designer but after 3-years of studying and getting my bachelors I found that nobody would hire someone without experience. So early that summer in 2009 I decided to become an 3d artist for games. It's been a re-occuring thought during my life but I've never really had the drive to pursue such a big goal like that, it requires an epic amount of discipline to pursue your goals but I went for it and I started out the way most people do when they don't know anything about something and want to learn, I typed "3d-modeling for games" into Google. I found forums/message boards, lots of them filled with professional people already inside the industry helping newbies out with critique for their art.
The hardest part of my life came after that really, it was a year of no real income only just enough to get me by, it was a year of dreams and hard work. I constantly worked on my portfolio, constantly trying to become better at 3D, at least 8 hours of 3d-modeling everyday and during my breaks for breakfast or dinner I watched tutorial videos or read art-books. 3D became my day-job, I had to treat it the way you treat your job. You do it everyday even if you don't feel like it, because being a professional 3D artist is not only about being artistic & technical, it's also about performing even though you don't feel like it. It's laying out and planning what you need to learn and how good you need to be to get hired and if you don't get into the right mindset when you're learning new things and going for your goals, you'll never really have the discipline to be able follow things through. A year after my google-search, I landed my first job through hard work and networking. My first job was as a 3D-Artist working for Sony - Evolution Studios on Motorstorm Apocalypse for the PS3.
That's the story about how I got a job in the games industry, the rest of it, is another story.
GH: What are your favorite games to play?
CR: I'm kind of an all-eater when it comes to video-games, I rarely say no to them without trying them at least once. This has led me to like a lot of different genres. Shooters are fun but usually mindless and without proper purpose which can be fine as long as you have people to play with, RPGs can be a great to just get lost in for hours but sometimes regular action adventures like The Last of Us make me really appreciate what games have become and just how good they actually can be in telling a story.
GH: What was your most challenging task you've had to do?
CR: Hmm this is a tricky one, it's probably my latest portfolio 3d-environment. It's inspired by the animé show Naruto and the most challenging thing about it was actually making it so that people could recognize it and feel the atmosphere of the Naruto-universe. It's usually a lot of work going into a project like that, for me it was about 1-2 months worth of work during my spare time.
GH: When you're not working, what are some hobbies you like to do?
CR: I usually spend time gaming to be honest, even though I'm on the inside I feel that it's important to keep up and always make sure you remember why video-games are awesome, which also goes hand in hand with the fact that I always get inspired by the games I play and that leads to me spending a lot of time making 3D game environments at home. Other than that I like spending time playing instruments, photograph or dabble with other art-related things.
GH: Just for fun, if you could have any superpowers, what would you want to have?
CR: Hmm, I usually like my super-powered heroes to have some real flaws but if I were to pick something for myself I'd make sure that it's kick-ass. I think I'd like to slow down & stop time, it would be very handy in almost every situation.
GH: Any big projects you are currently working on?
CR: At work I'm currently working as an Environment Artist on the The Division which I consider a pretty big project! At home it's nothing big really, just the regular stuff I usually do. Just trying to make the most beautiful and technically skilled art I can make. I wrote an article for the recently released Vertex 2 - magazine about how we went about the Environment Art for FC3 MP/COOP mode. (http://www.artbypapercut.com/)
GH: Do you have any advice for those looking and wanting to join in the gaming industry? CR: Well first and foremost you need to figure out what you want to do and schools are usually the best place for this. However it's important for people to apply to the right schools, you want a school that has a good relationship with game studios and teachers that are knowledgeable and have experience. If you like programming, try out for a programming role, if you like art 2d or 3d; concept artist or 3d modeler might be a good way to go. But it doesn't really stop there, if you like managing people and projects the role of producer or manager will be good for you. If you like music there is always composers and sound-effect guys that might need your help. What people don't realize that game-studios hold all different kinds of talents the only thing that we really share is our love for games.
This said, getting into the industry is not easy, people can spend years of their life trying and still not making it, you have to be prepared to sacrifice some things in your life to become good enough to get in. Networking will always be the best way though, if you have friends on the inside , things will be easier for you. Very close after that comes your skills and attitude, if you have the right amount of those , it won't be long until you get picked up.
There are also some good game developer podcasts out there to check out, great for beginners wanting to get in. "The Game Dev Cast" is one that I'm frequently guesting on, "Crunch Cast" and then we also have "Game Industry Mentor", an older podcast to I used to listen to when I was trying to get in.
Where can we stay connected with you?
Feel free to contact Chris for any questions you might have or just follow him on twitter to get a little bit of insight to what he's doing!
"I'm just a regular gamer that happens to make 3d-Art for games for a living." - Chris R.